New Zealand's supply chain woes under spotlight with inquiry into our economic resilience

New Zealand's supply chain woes are being put under the spotlight with an inquiry into our economic resilience.

During the pandemic there have been shortages of everything from toilet paper to appliances, and homewares to building materials.

But some believe it won't help.

The construction industry has been hit hard by supply-chain issues.

"I've been in the building game for over 40 years and I've never seen anything like it - it was like a bun fight, scrambling for everything. It was very stressful," said Wellington developer Rudy van Baarle.

Pandemic-related supply problems coupled with a building boom put pressure on plasterboard in particular. Although that's eased - the price of GIB is going up 15.4 percent.

"So many increases we are getting that don't seem justifiable," van Baarle said.

Fletcher Building, which supplies GIB, said it is justified - because all of their costs have gone up, partly due to inflation.

And it's not just builders feeling the pinch - at the pandemic's peak many shipping companies cut back supply routes, leaving retailers high and dry.

That's less likely this Christmas but presents could be more pricey.

"It has been challenging and retailers have worked hard to get product in earlier perhaps than they might have done otherwise, they've ordered product earlier and of course that comes at a big cost which will ultimately be passed onto consumers," said Retail NZ CEO Greg Harford.

A cost the Government wants to address - it's launched an inquiry into the resilience of our economy to supply-chain disruptions.

"I think it's really important we take an overall view of how we can improve our supply chain resilience," said Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson.

"It's laughable to think the Government could do anything in a global system in New Zealand at the bottom of the world in a very small market to do anything meaningful to improve that," Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand chief executive Nick Leggett said.

"I feel we're definitely over-regulated in everything and inquiries generally go nowhere," van Baarle added.

But the Minister said the inquiry will ensure New Zealand can anticipate, prepare for and respond to future supply-chain disruptions.